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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Free your mind (and the rest will follow)

Sticking with the theme of free stuff that works. Here’s another piece of software which has been a real hit for me and my colleagues. I won’t rave too much about it, Ill let you judge for yourself but here’s a summary from the developers, and a few links which may whet your appetite:

"FreeMind is premier free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has hopefully turned it into high productivity tool. We are proud that the operation and navigation of FreeMind is faster than that of Mind Manager because of one-click "fold / unfold" and "follow link" operations.

Current users of FreeMind use it for the following purposes:

  • Keeping track of projects, including subtasks, state of subtasks and time recording
  • Project workplace, including links to necessary files, executables, source of information and of course information
  • Workplace for internet research using Google and other sources
  • Keeping a collection of small or middle sized notes with links on some area which expands as needed.
  • Essay writing and brainstorming, using colors to show which essays are open, completed, not yet started etc, using size of nodes to indicate size of essays.
  • Keeping a small database of something with structure, which is either very dynamic or not known in advance.
  • Commented internet favorites or bookmarks, with colors and fonts having the meaning you want. "

For me its unique selling point was the fact that it was so very simple to use. Right click a node (which could be an idea) add another (sub-idea) - that’s it. Want to put those ideas into Word or Powerpoint? No problem, just copy and paste. If you have Java 1.4 installed you can view a map created with FreeMind here. If not here’s the same map exported by FreeMind into HTML.

If you want to know more about its usefulness then go along to their Thank you for the music forum. There you can see what other users of the software think. As someone who often needs to just scrappily get ideas down, Im already won over.


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